Music television

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Post  misery guts on Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:56 am

Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2013
From Oslo, with Mary J Blige, James Blunt, Jake Bugg, Zara Larsson, Envy, and surprisingly Morrissey. Though only an hour was shown, the credits listed enough material to suggest the proper concert was much longer. Good all the same.

Kylie Minogue: Showgirl - Live at Earl's Court
From 2005, a thrilling show with several set & costume changes, as the Aussie superstar belted out hits from across her career, starting with 'Better the Devil You Know' and ending with 'Love at First Sight'. Good stuff.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:36 am

BBC Proms: The Film Music Prom
Again with the BBC Concert Orchestra, this was a bill of two halves. Firstly, music from war films like 'Ice Cold In Alex' and 'Battle of Britain'. The 2nd half featured movies about the future, such as '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Independence Day', and finally 'Star Wars', plus an encore from 'Superman'. An engaging evening of music.

10cc in Concert
From the Grand Theatre, Swansea in 2011. This charming and fun-packed show ran through most of their big numbers, and a few small ones. Graham Gouldman and the rest seem quite content and proud of their legacy, and why not? The crowd were pleased, too, especially with the closer, 'Rubber Bullets'. They certainly won me over.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:42 am

Top of the Pops: The Sound of 1979
An annual waffle about 35 years ago, this time more about the show itself than the music scene it purported to reflect. The ubiquitous Nile Rodgers admitted that it was the year that Chic's success tailed off. Members of the Skids, the Ruts and the Members were present to recall their 15 minutes of fame, but there was a lack of star inclusions, save Gary Numan (who was part of the changing culture that did ultimately change the show).

Top of the Pops: 1979 - Big Hits
Hits from the year, with big names missing from the above now included; Squeeze, The Jam, The Boomtown Rats, The Specials and so on.

Katie Melua - Avo Session
As ever, from Basel in Switzerland, in 2013, as Katie belted out the hits for well over an hour. Happily, she intro'd most of her songs, as well as giving due to her band and string quartet. Certainly she provided an impressive show.

Diamonds Are Forever: The Don Black Songbook
A tributary show from the Royal Festival Hall in London. Host Michael Grade chatted to Don, inbetween a plethora of special guest performances, covering Don's greats. Michael Ball, Marti Webb, Eliza Doolittle, Marc Almond and Gary Wilmot were amongst the singers, and Katie Melua impressed with her bash at 'Diamonds Are Forever'. Richard Stilgoe also contributed a song utilising Don's love for unusual song-rhymes (foreigner & coroner, for example). Altogether, a great show.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:56 am

Nelly Furtado: MTV Live 2012
From a gig on the Isle of Wight, Nelly ran through many of her hits, including a long medley of some less familiar numbers. She closed on 'Say It Right'.

Brahms: Symphony #1 in C Minor, Op.68
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, as conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, at the Koncerthuset in Copenhagen. A pleasant hour or so, from 2011.

Michael Grade's Stars of the Musical Theatre
Do stars make shows, or do shows make stars? It's a bit of both - but more often the shows make stars. Grade considered shows like 'Cabaret', 'Evita', 'Sweeny Todd' and 'Oliver!' amongst others, talking to Michael Ball, Elaine Paige, Joel Grey, Jonathan Pryce and Marti Webb, and others.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:08 am

Elgar - Live Intro & Allegro for String Quarter & Orchestra, Op.157
From March 18, 2008, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra at the City Recital Hall, Sydney. Short and sweet.

Len Goodman's Dance Band Days
A tribute to the musical heyday between the 1st & 2nd World Wars. As later happened with rock and roll, the Americans started it, and the British responded. Bandleaders like Bert Ambrose and Jack Hylton were superstars of a sort, whilst crooner Al Bowlly shone in that area, too. The musical changes caused corresponding ire for the BBC, who had to both give airtime to these acts, but not appear to advertise them, let alone song lyrics or anything that could make big money. Technical improvements in microphones also changed the landscape. The union of Armed Forces bands in WW2 spelt the end of an era, and Bowlly was killed during the Blitz, and buried in a mass grave.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:42 am

BUFF: The Healer In Me
Quirky short about 'Lyrical Healer' aka Winsome Duncan, a poet/singer from London, and her efforts to get her message across. Charmingly, she met several other talents who I'd also not heard of - Segge Dan, Jenna Vardell, Natalie Oliveri and Floetic Lana. Credit to the lot of them, though.


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Post  misery guts on Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:04 pm

Dave Matthews Band - Weekend on the Rocks
From the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, Colorado, Sept 9-12, 2005. Another act I'm only superficially aware of, but his songs went down a storm (and happily were captioned on screen, too). About an hour.

Verdissimo
A special one-off concert from the Orchestre National de France, conducted by Daniele Gatti, featuring the Radio France Choir, from the Palais des Congres, Paris, on Dec 17, 2011. A jolly and faithful tribute to the composer Verdi.

Live From Wigmore Hall
Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin performed Brahms' Piano Sonata No.3 in F Minor Op.5, from Jun 2013. Pleasantly done.

Mike Hurst's Story of the 1950's
A couple of half-hours, as Mike Hurst recounts a brief analysis of the rise of teenagers and Rock & Roll. He called on Ronnie Carroll, a crooner, and Clem Cattini, a sessions drummer, to help tell his tale. He poignantly identified jeans as a dividing line between the new fashion and the old. Hurst is a charming presenter and makes some worthwhile points to remember.


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Post  misery guts on Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:19 pm

125th Anniversary Concert of the Concertgebouw and Royal Concert Orchestra, Amsterdam
Conducted by Mariss Jansons, and with guests contributions from Thomas Hampson, Lang Lang and Janine Jansen. They performed pieces by Wagner, Mahler, Prokofiev, Tchaikowsky, Saint-Saens and Richard Strauss. Pleasantly easy listening, and a fine tribute.

Live From The Artist's Den: Tori Amos
In The Veteran's Room, at the Park Avenue Armoury, New York, on Dec 9, 2009. I recognised precisely one song (China), but that aside, it was a melodic hour or so.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:32 am

Noah and the Whale - Isle of Wight 2012
A short half-hour burst from a band who seemed to peak a few years ago and then dropped off. They did at least include crowd faves like '5 Years' Time' and 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.'

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
A 2006 doc featuring the elusive and slow-working maverick, together with many of his devoted fans (Bowie, Eno, Lulu, Damon Albarn, Johnny Marr, Marc Almond etc). Probably repeated as a 70th birthday present (b. 9-1-44). An impressive prog, though.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:33 am

Nine Hundred Nights: Big Brother and the Holding Co.
From 2001, the story of how a band became surpassed by its member Janis Joplin, who then went her own way with such deadly effect.

21st Century Bach: The Complete Organ Works - Sonata IV

John Scott Whiteley performs in the Church of St Jakobi, Hamburg, but happily not for too long.

Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un Faune & La Mer
Two works from Debussy, performed at the Theatre des Champs Elysees, by L'orchestre National de France, and conducted by Danielle Gatti, in 2008. Nicely done.

Elbow at Isle of Wight 2012
A burst of 4 tracks, still mostly plugging their masterwork 'The Seldom Seen Kid'.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:11 am

Play On! 2
A short show to promote classical music to children, as 5 sample tunes were evocated by assorted people. They included Prokofiev's magnificent 'Dance of the Knights' and Handel's 'Zadok The Priest', and I was pleased to learn that Mussorgsky's 'Night on Bare Mountain' was a tune I was familiar with, and could now put a name to.

Dance Of The Elements
In some connection with the above, this was a half-hour of dance and animation linking assorted classical numbers with the four elements, Air, Earth, Water & Fire, aimed at even smaller children. I was glad to identify Saint-Saens' wonderful 'Aquarium'.

The Lindsays Play Hadyn
As with their previous show, this was from the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival of 2004. This time, they tackled 'String Quartet in F Minor, Op.20.5', and pleasant it was, too.


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Post  misery guts on Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:27 pm

Schumann - Symphony #1 in B Flat Major - Op.38
The usual suspects once more.

Faure, Ravel, Stravinsky
This time, the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Lorin Maezel performed 5 separate pieces, from 2012:
'Peleas and Melisande' (Faure); 'Piano Concerto in G Major' (Ravel); 'Grandes Etudes de Paganini' (Liszt (very short)); 'Petrushka - Burlesque in 4 scenes' (Stravinsky); 'La Valse' (Ravel). And a good time was had by all.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:58 am

Sergiu Celibidache and the Munich Philharmonic
Another concert performance, of works from Debussy (Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, Iberia) and Ravel (Allorada del Gracioso, Rhapsodie Espagnole and finishing with a superb version of Bolero). From 1994, when the great conductor was in his 80s. He conducted from a sitting position, but was still clearly on his mettle: Bolero

Arena: The Everly Brothers - Songs of Innocence and Experience
A 1984 tribute, repeated to mark the recent death of younger brother Phil. Their background (singing parents etc) was news to me, and there was contributions from Chet Atkins who gave their career a helpful nudge. A few celebrity endorsements were included (Tom Petty, who gets everywhere), but mainly it was Don talking, with a bit from Phil. Their career dipped with the British Invasion of the 1960s, and their 10-year hiatus gave them a longevity they might otherwise have lacked.

Arena: The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert
From 1983, at the Royal Albert Hall, London, which apparently had fond memories for the brothers. They ran through 21 numbers, with a medley halfway through of "songs our Daddy taught us". I was bemused to recognise that some of their songs have been cribbed by others, but they were both entertaining. They closed on 'Let It Be Me'. Their habit of singing straight into each other's faces from a short distance away was weird, but maybe after 10 years they were just checking. A great show, though.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:08 am

Kent Nagano's Classical Masterpieces
The same gang in the same place, this time performing Brahms' 'Symphony #4 in E Minor, Op. 98' Smile

Discovering: Eurythmics
He was from Durham, she was from Aberdeen, but with synths and a mighty voice, and an evolving sound, they conquered America (a little bit), took a decade-long hiatus, and inexplicably won a Brits Outstanding Contribution award to boot. I mean, they were alright and had some good songs, but still...

Neil Sedaka: King of Song
In advance of his 75th birthday in a few weeks, a solid hour on the rise and fall and rise of the Julliard student who was swindled by his own mother (!). His wife Leba has been his rock through bad times and good, and the origins of his big songs were worth hearing. I was bemused by his frequent inference that he 'wrote' his hits, when he only does the tunes. I'm pretty sure Elton John credits Bernie Taupin etc as the writer, for example - Neil comes across as a bit of a big-head.

Kent Nagano's Classical Masterpieces
As before, this time performing Bruckner's 'Symphony #8, WAB 108 (?)', which I found a bit dull.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:09 am

Sedaka: All You Need is the Music
Shown in concert with the other doc on him, this was an all-performance show from 1982, with a few talky intros from Mr Modest. There were 3 sections - his 70s revival stuff, his 50s early successes, and then more of his later reflective stuff. He acknowledged that the UK really helped start and cement his revival. It's probably worth noting that amidst his balladric 70s success came 'Bad Blood', which shows he didn't just stick to the same style.

Who is Harry Nilsson (and why is Everybody Talking about him?)
From 2010, a busy hour with a plethora of star names recounting the rise and fall of a quirky singer-songwriter whose capacity for revelry probably outshone the songs he was remembered for. His wife and children were all fond, though, and his friends were united in their love and sorrow for him. His connection to the Beatles was a useful one, but the murder of John Lennon gave him a new fire and direction that some felt didn't help him. But though he died at 52, he seemed to pack in a lot of good times.

Katy B's Hangout
An overview of most of her earlier singles, with Katy talking about their creation, and expressing admiration for collaborators like Ms Dynamite, Tinie Tempah and Mark Ronson. In an unassuming way, she seems to be setting out a stall for greatness.


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Post  misery guts on Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:49 pm

The Trumpet's Splendour
Alison Balsom solos in performances of Bach's Concerto in D Major, Haydn's Concerto in E Flat Major, Debussy's Syrinx, Thalben-Ball's Elegy and Bach's Gigue/Suite #2. The Haydn & Debussy are with the Konzerthausorchester, Berlin, conducted by Xian Zhang, whilst the others are with organist David Goode. Balsom chats between songs about what drew her to what is often seen as a male instrument. A good little show.

Kent Nagano's Classical Masterpieces
Yes, again. This time, he and his mates tackled Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony Op.64, which ran for most of an hour, relating a direct narrative, and far more interesting for it, too.

Andre Previn: A Bridge Between Two Worlds
A 2008 doc about the prodigiously brilliant conductor/composer/pianist/father/husband. Two of his ex-wives (Mia Farrow and Anne-Sophie Mutter) were on hand, and on good terms, as were some of his children. Oh, and Tom Stoppard. There was footage of him performing with the great Oscar Peterson, and talk about how he has homes in many countries. Though he now feels American, he still thinks fondly of England, too.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:36 am

Hurricane Festival 2012: The Cure
Somewhere in Germany, this was a decent hour or so, helpfully the tracks were titled on-screen. They're more mainstream than they let on, though. But that's not a bad thing.

Discovering: Pulp
Music critics adore this band, but I get crosser and crosser about them with every passing year. To prove it, I went out and bought one of their albums, which I enjoyed. Er...


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Post  misery guts on Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:25 am

4 Better, 4 Worse: The Anatomy of a String Quartet
Another edition of the series with the Lindsays playing Haydn (they did Opus 76 #5 in D Major), but with much bts chat about why they chose Haydn particularly, why they call themselves the Lindsays and so on. They feel Haydn is a "happy" composer, like Dvorak. Well, now I know.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:16 am

The Lindsays Play Haydn
Once again, this time yapping between a performance of 'String Quartet in G Major, Op. 54.1

Neil Sedaka: Up Close & Personal
A concert from Edmonton where he runs through a range of hits, mixed with formal chat from elsewhere with Neil, wife Leba, and former songwriting partner Howard Greenfield. Oddly, the Immigrant was labelled as The Miracle Song, so maybe that was a cosmetic change. Still a great show.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:46 am

Waldbuhne 2012
The Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Andris Nelsons, tackle an all-Tchaikovsky bill, finishing with the Ouverture Solennelle, i.e. the 1812 Overture, which was excellent. Oddly, they did a short encore by Lincke, which could only be an anti-climax after that.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:34 am

The South Bank Show: Alison Balsom
From the recent 2013 revival series, Alison talked to Melvyn Bragg about why she chose the trumpet in particular, and there were also approving comments from violinist Maxim Vengerov, conductor Trevor Pinnock, and inspirational trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger.

Wigan Casino
A short half-hour film directed by Tony Palmer, frustratingly not dated. Mainly vox pops from young and old, talk about how the all-nighters grew to popularity as a weekly release valve for hard workers in harsh environments.


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Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:36 pm

The Lindsays Play Haydn
This time, they did 'String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 42', to the usual effect.

Smokey Robinson: Live in Hyde Park
From 2013, so inevitably looking a bit aged now. But the voice is still there, and he gave the crowd what they wanted, ending with an extended get-the-crowd-involved riff on 'Cruisin'.


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Post  misery guts on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:57 pm

Queens of Heartache
Another of those anthology profile shows, from 2006, this time discussing Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Maria Callas and Janis Joplin. What was notable were the talking heads, either young starlets like Katie Melua, KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae, or old sweats like Charles Aznavour, Mickey Rooney or George Schlatter.

Kylie: My Story
Somewhat similar to the Hangout model, but with a lot longer career to cover, it took time with her early years, her mixed attempts to change her image, her successful return in 1999, and her current return, coinciding with being a judge on the UK version of 'The Voice'. 25 years on from 'I Should Be So Lucky', she will probably be around for at least another 25 years.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:17 am

Storyville: Muscle Shoals
Another long doc on a major American record studio. In short, this was the story of Rick Hall, who took local (Alabama) cotton picker Percy Sledge, recorded his big classic "When a Man Loves a Woman", and went on from there. They helped Aretha Franklin make her breakthrough, helped Etta James make some glory, made a star of Clarence Carter, and so on & so on. The backing band, the Swampers, also got their due. When they were coaxed away, Hall simply found some new faces to take over. The quality of the show was the number of those interviewed: Candi Staton, Steve Winwood, Wilson Pickett, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (both much livelier than usual), Bono and many more. A fine tribute.

Nina Simone in Paris
From 1990, the High Priestess of Soul mixed the familiar with a few surprises. Although her voice was not what it was, she still gave younger artists a run for their money. I particularly enjoyed her rendition of 'My Way', a far livelier reading than is usual.

The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark
As he would have been 70 this year had he lived, this looked at his musical journey, which seemed to consist of catching the bus after it had already left. He persistently suffered with the limelight, so although he was determined to keep creating and recording, the need to publicise and tour the results usually ended badly. Many friends and family members testified to his talent, if not always his self-destruction.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:40 am

Paavo Jarvi & Orchestre de Paris
A concert performance (or more than one), at La Selle de Pleyel, with Stravinsky's 'The Firebird' (in Sept 2012), and 'The Rite of Spring', with Debussy's 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun' (both in Nov 2012). A pleasant enough show.

Songs of Praise: Candi Staton
Long-running BBC religious programme hosted by Aled Jones combined chitchat with performance, mostly of religious numbers. They ended with 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'. I never knew it was pronounced Stay-ton before.


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